Five people died in a small aircraft crash near Louisiana airport, US
Five people died on Saturday, 28 December 2019, when a small aircraft that was headed to Atlanta for a college football playoff semi-final crashed near Lafayette Regional Airport in Louisiana, US officials said. A sixth person on board survived the crash, which occurred around 9h22, Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit said in a news conference. One of the people killed was a sports reporter whose father-in-law is a coach for Louisiana State University's top-ranked football team. Fire officials later identified the dead as Ian E Biggs, 51, pilot; Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59, Carley Ann McCord, 30, Gretchen D Vincent, 51 and Michael Walker Vincent, 15.
McCord was a sports reporter with WDSU television in New Orleans. She was the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger, according to WDSU. LSU played in Atlanta on Saturday in one of the NCAA's two national championship semi-finals and Ensminger is in the LSU coaches' booth.
The injured passenger was identified as Stephen Wade Berzas, 37. He is in critical condition, Lafayette Fire Department spokesman Alton Trahan said in a news release.
Three people were injured on the ground, including a person who was in or near a car and two employees of a nearby post office, Benoit said. The postal workers were treated for smoke inhalation and are doing fine, he said.
The eight-passenger aircraft was taking off from the airport when it crashed, Benoit said. The crash site is about 4 miles from the airport. The NTSB identified the aircraft as a Piper PA-31T.
Officials arrived at the crash site at 9h30, Benoit said. Several local and state agencies were on the scene cooperating, and the FAA has done a preliminary investigation, he said. Authorities expect the NTSB to arrive later Saturday evening, Benoit said.
Weather conditions at Lafayette Regional Airport were listed as foggy throughout Saturday morning, with a visibility of 0,75 miles, according to the National Weather Service. At 7h00 local time, visibility was listed at 0,25 miles, which the weather service designates as "dense fog." Lafayette is about 130 miles west of New Orleans.